Nigerian unions launch general strike over minimum wage

Reuters , Thursday 27 Sep 2018

File Photo: Demonstrators in Nigeria's capital Abuja, undated. (Reuters)

Nigeria's main unions launched an indefinite nationwide strike on Thursday in a dispute over the minimum wage after talks with the government broke down a day earlier.

Government offices were shut in the capital, Abuja, while most of the city's banks were closed. It was not clear if there was any impact on airlines, oil companies and crude production and most filling stations in Abuja were operating as normal.

President Muhammadu Buhari's government had vowed to review the wage due to a fuel price hike and currency devaluation in the last two years aimed at countering the effects of a plunge in global oil prices which are the economic mainstay.

Unions want the government to almost triple the monthly minimum wage to around 50,000 naira ($164) from 18,000 naira.

South African telecoms company MTN sent a text message to staff telling them to work from home until further notice due to the strike.

The strike aims to raise pressure on the government to produce a minimum wage proposal.

Buhari plans to stand for a second term at an election next February and his economic record will come under scrutiny, given previous pledges to raise living standards, tackle corruption and improve security.

Last year Nigeria emerged from a recession, its first in a quarter of a century. Growth remains fragile and consumer spending is yet to recover in a country where the United Nations estimates that most people live on $2 a day or less

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